Lookin' down the wrong end of a gun
Makin' tracks for Jersey
before I'm wasted by the sun
A simple man in a complex world
Got the means but the know how escapes me

-- Overkill - Supersonic Hate

OBLIVEON - From This Day Forward
Canada 1990

1. From This Day Forward 2. Fiction Of Veracity 3. Droidomized 4. Imminent Regenerator 5. It Should Have Stayed Unreal 6. Access To The Acropolis 7. Chronocraze

Obliveon's From This Day Forward is an original listening experience. Simplest described as technical thrash metal from Canada, this album consists of intriguing song patterns that initially sound hard to adopt but gradually grow on you. The songs are far from simplistic and possess more than a fair deal of variety although a careless listener can be in a serious danger of getting lost in the complex approach. The low-key vocals border on monotonous and act as a bringer of balance, but they do not really add to the music otherwise. While the outcome is definitely quite original, at times you cannot avoid some kind of a Voivod-ish feel even though the style of Obliveon's songwriting is more consistent and not as restless. Almost meditative, somewhat aimless songs like Fiction Of Veracity and It Should Have Stayed Unreal pretty much summarize this album. Whether the result is really worth it or not, it cannot be denied that From This Day Forward follows a route of its own unlike most other releases out there.

OMISSION - Thrash Metal Is Violence
Spain 2009

1. Bestial Belch 2. God Bring You Down 3. Traitor 4. Legions Of Youth 5. Satanicspeed Thrash Metal 6. Primitive Instinct 7. Pure Fucking Hate 8. Questions 9. Satanic Feelings 10. V.P.A.

It is not only because of the title that Omission's Thrash Metal Is Violence can initially give a bit dumb impression. But as it eventually turns out, this album is actually not too bad. The band's attitude seems quite fine, energetic and dedicated, and the music is far from the dullest examples of its kind. The nasty vocal tone sometimes borders on slightly overdone, but it is nevertheless very fitting for the overall sound. The most memorable individual moment on the album may be the instrumental piece Satanicspeed Thrash Metal, mainly due to its overwhelming and forceful rhythm. Although Omission's first full-length release is certainly not any remarkable piece of work, the general feel is warm and even natural in such way that it is not an unpleasant task to give this recording a spin or two.

ONSLAUGHT - Power From Hell
United Kingdom 1985

1. Damnation 2. Onslaught (Power From Hell) 3. Thermonuclear Devastation 4. Skull Crusher 1 5. Lord Of Evil 6. Death Metal 7. Angels Of Death 8. The Devil's Legion 9. Steel Meets Steel 10. Skullcrusher 2 11. Witch Hunt 12. Mighty Empress

Pioneers of British thrash metal, Onslaught were not necessarily too well known outside their local scene. Power From Hell sounds even surprisingly convincing and focused for such an early release. The production is very heavy and the tracks have a particularly gritty feel to them. Most of the time the vocals have a definite hardcore-ish edge, which can make this album sound slightly peculiar. The music is quite consistent if somewhat undistinctive on the whole. Even though the result may not appear quite as memorable as certain other releases from the same period, Power From Hell gains some additional credibility due to its audible grim attitude.

United Kingdom 1986

1. Let There Be Death 2. Metal Forces 3. Fight With The Beast 4. Demoniac 5. Flame Of The Antichrist 6. Contract In Blood 7. Thrash Till The Death

Onslaught's second release was about as heavy as their debut, but this time the music was oriented towards a bit more typical thrash metal. While the intensity of The Force does not pale in comparison to Power From Hell, the sound of this album is more controlled and clear, also different due to Sy Keeler as a new vocalist. His vocals are a mix of normal grunts and occasional high-pitched screams, and admittedly the style is more professional than on the previous release. Musically this album is decent, but a bit more creative direction could have made the result more interesting. With a respectable heavy and dark sound, The Force can be still deemed Onslaught's most successful effort in the 1980s.

ONSLAUGHT - In Search Of Sanity
United Kingdom 1989

1. Asylum 2. In Search Of Sanity 3. Shellshock 4. Lightning War 5. Let There Be Rock 6. Blood Upon The Ice 7. Welcome To Dying 8. Powerplay 9. Confused

Being their third album, with their third vocalist, In Search Of Sanity significantly differs from Onslaught's previous recordings. Starting from the prolonged intro track, this release completely lacks the general grittiness of Power From Hell and The Force. Instead, the overall sound is very clean and almost overproduced, which can make the music appear rather tame at times. Although the new vocalist Steve Grimmett was not a bad singer at all, his polished vocals were not the best fit for thrash metal. It seems that the band attempted to create something similar to Metallica's mainstream albums with their long and massive songs, but the strategy didn't work out in the best possible way.

ONSLAUGHT - Killing Peace
United Kingdom 2007

1. Burn 2. Killing Peace 3. Destroyer Of Worlds 4. Pain 5. A Prayer For The Dead 6. Tested To Destruction 7. Twisted Jesus 8. Planting Seeds Of Hate 9. Shock & Awe

Killing Peace was Onslaught's return to the scene with a noticeably strong offering. The sound quality shows what can be done with up-to-date facilities, and the production is plain excellent - you can hardly find better these days. Despite obvious technical advantages this album still owes a great deal to the band's traditions, with some new kind of maturity, therefore it can be safely considered a logical but certainly way more advanced continuation of Onslaught's legacy. The band try hard to convince the listener with their output, maybe occasionally a bit too much as sometimes you cannot avoid a strained feel coming through, but as a whole this album is actually better than could have been expected. Onslaught simply never sounded as tight as here. While it is hardly the most novel approach around, Killing Peace features some of the most refined old-school thrash metal you can find today.

OUTBURST - Aggression
Japan 2008

1. Demised 2. Cause And Justice 3. Death Throttle 4. Over The Edge 5. Dehumanization 6. Dealt Hand 7. Betrayer 8. Immortal Deities 9. The Road

To start with the conclusions, Outburst's Aggression is not exactly a great album. The band's style can be pretty energetic but also way too generic and even dull more often than not. Although there may be some value in their seemingly carefree approach, some of the lighter tracks like Over The Edge end up sounding just dumb. Maybe this release could have turned out better if it weren't for the vocals that manage to sound awfully awkward from time to time and consequently make the songs appear somewhat amateurish. Aggression is not totally hopeless, maybe in specific situations it can serve some useful purpose, but a truly recommendable piece this is obviously not. In times like these, one can only wonder if albums like this are still really needed.

OUTRAGE - The Great Blue
Japan 1990

1. Just Believe In Me 2. Rusty Door 3. Fall To Disorder 4. The Day Of Rage 5. Voyage Of... 6. ...Clay Liner 7. The Truth 8. Great Blue 9. Bearing Down

Measured by typical genre antics, Outrage's The Great Blue is an adequate representation of speed/thrash metal from Japan. More intense than the band's initial, not so keenly speed-oriented recordings, it is still far from the most frantic performances, but the music flows not in a bad way. In fact, you could say that Outrage had a lot more genuine style than some of their colleagues. Compared to the sufficiently energetic first few tracks, the second half of the album tends to give a bit of a lackluster impression, though you cannot really blame the band for giving it a fair try. The feel of The Great Blue may sometimes bear an occasional resemblance to some of the big names in the field, especially considering the vocals, but the package manages to avoid the most blatant direct references. At least it is a fair addition to the scene, just not the most striking album out there.

OUTRAGE - The Final Day
Japan 1991

1. My Final Day 2. Madness 3. Follow 4. Wings 5. Sad Survivor 6. Visions 7. Veiled Sky 8. River 9. Fangs

The Final Day is somewhat more consistent than its predecessor, again featuring some well-done but not the most original or spirited speed/thrash metal. Songs with even moderately high tempo run pretty smoothly and with little interference, whereas the slowest parts can be pretty dull experiences to wade through. It's good for some light background music but does not really make the most authentic impression, quite the opposite. Outrage could have simply done better in the hard-hitting department, as now the result is rather superficial at best - the most intense bursts on The Final Day are easily noticeable but quite short. Let's just say that if you want to avoid falling asleep by listening to music, there are many other albums that are much more suitable for that purpose than this.

OVERCAST - Under The Face Of Chaos
Greece 2003

1. Middle East Terrorist 2. Massive Extermination 3. Aggressive Destroyer 4. Born Of Ignorance 5. Thrash Invasion 6. Die In Pain 7. Angels In Fire 8. Nuclear Killers Attack 9. P.A.T. (Underground Revolution)

A band like Overcast would have been fully at home in the thrash metal scene more than ten years prior to this release. Under The Face Of Chaos is like a run-through of some of the most essential elements that have been formulated in the genre over the long years. The riffs are more practical than catchy and effectively seem to escape memory even in the long run, but structurally there is not much to complain about. The songs flow at a varying pace, far from the most straightforward expression yet continuously making steady progress. On tracks like Nuclear Killers Attack the band's sound actually resembles Tankard, mainly due to a similar vocal tone. Strictly speaking Under The Face Of Chaos is not really inside the sector of keen interest, but in a random selection of albums it would hardly end up among the most disappointing ones.

OVERDOSE - Circus Of Death
Brazil 1992

1. Violence 2. The Zombie Factory 3. Dead Clowns 4. A Good Day To Die 5. Profit 6. Powerwish 7. The Healer 8. Beyond My Bad Dreams

As a band who started their career at the same time with Sepultura, Overdose were one of the better known Brazilian speed/thrash metal acts also outside their home country. Circus Of Death is one of the band's thrashiest releases with a good production and heavy, steady riffs throughout. The style is slightly less intense than on Sepultura or Korzus albums from the same era, for example, but it serves its purpose well enough. Actually the only major downside is that, despite the professional sound and heavy approach, most songs sound pretty samey and the album has few actual highlights. The most notable exception must be Violence, a vicious headbanging track that stands out of the more standard material. Some lack of character aside, Circus Of Death is a fair piece of thrash metal - not among the best in the genre but certainly not the worst of its kind either.

Note: Vinyl and CD releases of this album have a different track order and artwork.

OVERKILL - Feel The Fire
USA 1985

1. Raise The Dead 2. Rotten To The Core 3. There's No Tomorrow 4. Second Son 5. Hammerhead 6. Feel The Fire 7. Blood And Iron 8. Kill At Command 9. Overkill 10. Sonic Reducer (bonus)

Overkill must be one of the best known and most productive thrash metal bands worldwide. Even today, the band's first full-length album sounds simply refreshing. Bobby "Blitz" Ellsworth is among the most recognizable vocalists in the genre, and his voice gave Overkill a unique identity from the very beginning. While the material on this debut is not the fastest possible and most of the individual songs may not stand out too well (Rotten To The Core and Blood And Iron are some notable exceptions), Feel The Fire is a fairly strong release with a coherent and energetic feel. Although there are no major differences between Overkill's early recordings, this remains quite an entertaining album.

OVERKILL - Taking Over
USA 1987

1. Deny The Cross 2. Wrecking Crew 3. Fear His Name 4. Use Your Head 5. Fatal If Swallowed 6. Powersurge 7. In Union We Stand 8. Electro-Violence 9. Overkill II (The Nightmare Continues)

While the songwriting on Taking Over is essentially similar to Feel The Fire, the sound of this second album is much heavier and more forceful. Most songs are still not too fast and a couple of tracks even have some obvious traits of traditional metal, but the band got the right attitude and it shows. In Union We Stand in particular is an amusing metal anthem, whereas Electro-Violence is one of the tightest (and funniest) pieces on this album. As a whole, Taking Over is another good, classic Overkill release with a familiar feel, not radically better or worse than most of the band's other works in the 1980s.

OVERKILL - Under The Influence
USA 1988

1. Shred 2. Never Say Never 3. Hello From The Gutter 4. Mad Gone World 5. Brainfade 6. Drunken Wisdom 7. End Of The Line 8. Head First 9. Overkill III (Under The Influence)

With Under The Influence Overkill's style became a tad closer to typical thrash metal of the time. The production is sharp and dry, the guitar positively shreds, and Blitz sounds particularly nasty with his high-pitched voice. Of the band's first four releases, this one has probably the most consistent sound and feel. These songs may not immediately stick to your head as there are no such individual highlights as in the past, but the album as a whole appears fairly effective. Although not overly distinctive, Under The Influence is a solid Overkill release with some of its timeless appeal still audible even today.

OVERKILL - The Years Of Decay
USA 1989

1. Time To Kill 2. Elimination 3. I Hate 4. Nothing To Die For 5. Playing With Spiders / Skullkrusher 6. Birth Of Tension 7. Who Tends The Fire 8. The Years Of Decay 9. E.vil N.ever D.ies

The Years Of Decay can be a challenging album. This recording features some of Overkill's possibly best individual songs ever, like Elimination, Nothing To Die For, and the truly wicked E.vil N.ever D.ies (which could be one of the ten best thrashers of all time). But there are also tracks like the insanely sluggish Skullkrusher that seriously drags for ten minutes while very little happens, or the almost equally lengthy Who Tends The Fire and the balladish title track which do not exactly resemble the most energetic or exciting performances either. When a fair half of the release is consumed by some rather lethargic pieces, the outcome is obviously going to turn out quite divided. The Years Of Decay was clearly Overkill's most ambitious and diverse album at this point, but it would still take some time before the band's efforts resulted in maximum quality.

OVERKILL - Horrorscope
USA 1991

1. Coma 2. Infectious 3. Blood Money 4. Thanks For Nothin' 5. Bare Bones 6. Horrorscope 7. New Machine 8. Frankenstein 9. Live Young, Die Free 10. Nice Day... For A Funeral 11. Soulitude

After a string of good but not exactly groundbreaking releases, Overkill suddenly made an album that would put almost everything else in the scene to shame. Horrorscope is easily one of the greatest thrash metal albums ever recorded, a masterpiece that has quality written all over it. Maybe none of its specific elements was completely novel at the time of this release, but never before the parts had come together on one and the same album in this way. The combination of a wonderfully heavy and balanced production and the most refined and consistent songwriting so far resulted in the most accomplished and stylish recording from this band to date. These tracks are totally unmatched fast and intense performances full of dark overtones. Even the balladish Soulitude is brilliant, something that similar previous efforts fell short of. Before this release Overkill lost their longtime guitar player Bobby Gustafsson, but with two new guitarists in their roster the band sounded even better than before. With Horrorscope they finally got it right where it really counts.

USA 1994

1. Where It Hurts 2. Fast Junkie 3. The Wait - New High In Lows 4. They Eat Their Young 5. What's Your Problem 6. Under One 7. Supersonic Hate 8. R.I.P. (Undone) 9. Up To Zero 10. Bastard Nation 11. Gasoline Dream

In 1994 there was not much to expect from a new Overkill album, even less so considering the band's initial dip into groove metal (with the infamous I Hear Black) just one year earlier. Therefore it was almost a small enjoyable surprise - and a great relief - to find that W.F.O. was something of a temporary return to form after all. Although a couple of tracks still have some obvious audible groovy bits in them, most of this release is quite listenable while naturally not as effective as Overkill's older albums. Maybe due to the fact that this recording was self-produced by the band, the bass guitar is often hilariously over-emphasized in the mix, and its clunky sound can really take some time to get used to. That aside, W.F.O. is a satisfying reminder that Overkill had not been totally lost in the land of groove for good.

OVERKILL - Bloodletting
USA 2000

1. Thunderhead 2. Bleed Me 3. What I'm Missin' 4. Death Comes Out To Play 5. Let It Burn 6. I, Hurricane 7. Left Hand Man 8. Blown Away 9. My Name Is Pain 10. Can't Kill A Dead Man

After W.F.O. Overkill's musical path turned to a seriously groove hampered direction for many years, much to the annoyance of thrash metal purists. In this sense Bloodletting was a noticeable return to thrashier grounds, and fairly good as such. Except for a couple of more groove-ridden tracks, this album features powerful thrash metal in the traditional Overkill vein. The overall sound is quite awesome, very heavy and stomping, and Blitz is still in top-form on vocals. The songs could be generally more interesting though, now many of them sound alike, even dull at times, and the riffs tend to lack a distinctive factor. The finest thrashers like Thunderhead and Death Comes Out To Play could be re-incarnations of nastiness, but as a whole this album would benefit from catchier riffs. Despite some criticism, Bloodletting is not a bad demonstration at all, but it does not quite compare with the better old Overkill recordings either.

OVERKILL - Killbox 13
USA 2003

1. Devil By The Tail 2. Damned 3. No Lights 4. The One 5. Crystal Clear 6. The Sound Of Dying 7. Until I Die 8. Struck Down 9. Unholy 10. I Rise

Killbox 13 featured no major deviations from the style established on Bloodletting. It's not the fastest or most extreme stuff anymore, but you immediately recognize Overkill when you hear even a short snippet from this album. Pounding thrash metal with some small tasty variations is what the band kept on delivering also here. As the only major exception from the rule, Crystal Clear is a blatant groove track and easily skippable as such - the others are way more listenable than that. By Overkill's standards the material is pretty typical, in other words, most songs are rather effective in a basic way but classics you will not find here. Therefore quite the same kind of classification applies to Killbox 13 as to Bloodletting, and while this album on the whole is perhaps a bit more memorable, the final result is only equally satisfactory at best.

USA 2005

1. Within Your Eyes 2. Love 3. Loaded Rack 4. Bats In The Belfry 5. A Pound Of Flesh 6. Keeper 7. Wheelz 8. The Mark 2:14 9. Play The Ace 10. Old School

While Killbox 13 was not half-bad, ReliXIV turned out to be a definite sign of decline in quality. Within Your Eyes is a near-typical opener, not bad but rather formulaic and kind of dull. It is almost a perfect example of the general uninspired, even tired feel of this album that you surely wouldn't like to hear from Overkill. But it's the "groovy" bits that give the biggest headache, tracks like Love and Loaded Rack containing a lot more unlistenable parts than necessary. On the brighter side of things, A Pound Of Flesh and Keeper are full-blooded, more or less satisfactory thrashers, and although Old School is incredibly silly, it has some very nostalgic as well as uplifting quality. Apparently Overkill were not in the best shape when ReliXIV was recorded, but at least the outcome was not yet completely devoid of worthy material.

OVERKILL - Immortalis
USA 2007

1. Devils In The Mist 2. What It Takes 3. Skull And Bones 4. Shadow Of A Doubt 5. Hellish Pride 6. Walk Through Fire 7. Head On 8. Chalie Get Your Gun 9. Hell Is 10. Overkill V... The Brand

Immortalis may be one of Overkill's worst releases to date, and that's even when their grooviest moments in the 1990s are considered. The album opens with the seriously unimaginative Devils In The Mist which is only matched by the equally stale production. At least the first couple of tracks still play fairly fast, but the rest is on the slow side for the most part, not to mention awfully boring, and a listening session can become a real snoozefest. Skull And Bones deserves a special unhonorable mention due to its terrible unfitting guest vocals, and although the pace sort of improves near the end, the closing Overkill V... The Brand is a true anticlimax. There is not a single track on this album that would do even a fair bit of justice to Overkill's career up to this point, and you can only wish that someone had locked the band up until their urge to record Immortalis had vanished. It is certainly a sad thing when the best part about an Overkill album is the artwork.

OVERKILL - Ironbound
USA 2010

1. The Green And Black 2. Ironbound 3. Bring Me The Night 4. The Goal Is Your Soul 5. Give A Little 6. Endless War 7. The Head And Heart 8. In Vain 9. Killing For A Living 10. The SRC

It wouldn't have taken much to recover even slightly after Immortalis, but Ironbound is actually a huge improvement in every sense. The most notable thing is how fresh this album sounds, as if Overkill suddenly found a whole new driving force to continue their work. Pretty much everything here appears more energetic by tenfold, and it's almost hard to believe this is the same band who recorded the previous couple of lackluster releases. While the songs cannot quite reach the level of catchiness of Overkill's best works in the past, at least this is a clear step up from the recent few years and quite possibly one of Overkill's most consistent and thrashiest albums since the early 1990s. Although it may not be likened to some truly classic releases, Ironbound is a welcome renewal of a band who already seemed lost for good. Just don't expect another Horrorscope, and this one should do quite nicely.

OVERKILL - The Electric Age
USA 2012

1. Come And Get It 2. Electric Rattlesnake 3. Wish You Were Dead 4. Black Daze 5. Save Yourself 6. Drop The Hammer Down 7. 21st Century Man 8. Old Wounds, New Scars 9. All Over But The Shouting 10. Good Night

Overkill's albums up until the early 1990s were usually very consistent in both quality and style, but after that the results have been often a lot more varied, and not always for the better. In comparison to the fresh sound of Ironbound that came as a small surprise, The Electric Age seems more ordinary and less intriguing. There's a nice rockin' feel throughout (as much as a thrash album can reasonably have) but most riffs are only so-so, generally somewhat forgettable and fairly repetitive. It all sounds pretty smooth, clear but not overproduced, and the band appear to have been in a sufficiently energetic mood when this album was recorded. And yet The Electric Age is seriously left in the shadow of Overkill's better releases in this millennium, not to forget about the classic works that made this band famous in the first place.

OVERTHROW - Within Suffering
Canada 1990

1. Infection 2. Within Suffering 3. Chemically Exposed 4. Repressed Hostility 5. Suppression 6. All That Remains 7. Chaos Incarnate 8. Under The Skin 9. Abduction Of Life

Certainly one of the less known acts from Canada, Overthrow were in the more frantic end of the thrash metal spectrum. Within Suffering sometimes resembles the debut album of D.B.C. with a similar kind of rough and terse thrash. The songs are short and rapid bursts that don't waste too much time on details. Of course, the result is unavoidably somewhat one-dimensional and there's not too much emphasis on originality, but at least this kind of relentless hammering is not too boring either. With its rough charm this album is one of those energy blasts that you might play in the background just for the feel of it. While Within Suffering does not exactly have a genuine gimmick of its own, it manages to gain some positive response with its strong attitude alone.